Story: Cavan Scott
Art: Ario Anindito, Mark Morales
Colors: Franke William
Letterer: VC’s Ariana Maher
What They Say:
DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF THE DARK SIDE! Vildar Mac has been haunted all his life. Now, as the Leveler is unleashed, the Jedi Knight faces a terrible decision – resist the lure of the dark side or become what he fears the most to survive. Will TEY SIRREK pay the ultimate price for Vildar’s choice?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The High Republic era continues to be something I’m fascinated by but hasn’t really become something that I’m just heavily into yet. I’ve dabbled in a couple of books and several comics, but it hasn’t had that gateway that’s worked for me where I’m really invested in following it. Cavan Scott’s involvement in the novel side definitely has made for some solid comics in the previous run and my hope is that as time goes on and they all get a better handle on the larger approach, things move in more interesting directions. This issue has Ario Anindito back on the book with Mark Morales and that’s welcome as they definitely have a good handle on the look of the property while also bringing in something that feels just a touch different in how it’s grounded and detailed.
With one more issue to go, events here build pretty well so that it feels intense. The Path folks have gotten their hands on the device that lets them control the Leveler and they’re intent on using it to cause a lot of chaos and death. There’s some minor disagreement later about killing in the moment, but this is a big thing that they’re after and they’re enjoying the power they now control. For Tey, he’s trying to figure out what the hell the Leveler is and trying to get a response out of Vildar who has sunk into his own mind. He’s basically feeling like the Force has abandoned him and he’s lost but it’s got him in a near-catatonic state. Unfortunately, the pair are discovered fairly quickly, though it’s Tey that’s found first which leads to a problematic fight that he’s taking some real hits on while trying to rally Vildar to fight alongside him. What’s worse, however, is that since they’re in this vault, he ends up grabbing a power glove kind of weapon to fight back with.
And that’s what snaps Vildar back into reality because Tey has grabbed a Dark Side weapon and it’s quickly corrupting him with all the power that’s coursing through him. The chaos of it all works well and I almost wish they didn’t flip back to Matty and the others in Jedha to showcase how things are getting worse there. Tey’s definitely being quickly consumed by this immense power and it even throws the Path folks off-balance since Tey’s able to stop the Leveler from attacking. But that turns into a new cycle of violence and has Tey taken down and Vildar basically abandoning the idea of the Force and the Jedi themselves in order to avenge him. He’s given into hate pretty easily here and combined with the skills he has and this Dark Side weapon, it’s like everything flipped and he’s full of fury as he pushes back. It’s a great sequence visually as the entire team paces it beautifully and it’s filled with intense detail, making the whole thing work quite well.
While certain elements of this series have not won me over as it doesn’t feel like it was fleshed out enough for new readers, there’s still a whole lot in this run that I like. This issue keeps things more narrowly focused on Tey and Vildar and what they’re facing in the vault and that helps a lot. The brief time we get elsewhere doesn’t add much and mostly just remind us that action is happening there. Tey’s attempts at fighting and doing the right thing unfold well, even if he gets a taste of darker power, and it’s definitely interesting to see someone like Vildar just absolutely lose it. Solid stuff all around with great-looking artwork that delivers.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Marvel Comics
Release Date: May 10th, 2023